Pastor Peterson was deep in his armchair reading the telephone book. The church register was open beside him. He explained that he was preparing a sermon on Psalm 87. When I looked uncomfortably blank he reminded me that this was the Psalm behind the hymn “Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God.”

The census year had led him to reflect on the numbering of the people of God. Psalm 87 describes the glorious counting of the Gentiles among the citizens of Zion. At the moment, however, he was comparing the mainly Anglo-Saxon names of the church register with the cosmopolitan variety of the phone book. He had been scribbling some verses:

O’Bannon, Shannon,

Maglioni, Gray, Brown

Are names now numbered

In the census count down.

Miss London, Naples,

Mr. Paris, France, Rome

Are all on record

In their U.S.A. home,

Along with others

Somewhat harder to spell,

Onuskanych and

Zyzniewski as well.

Each nose is counted

Every name is spelled out—

The Szuszczewiczes

Are inscribed without doubt.

The rolls of heaven

Must be stranger by far;

His book of mercy

Who has numbered each star

Is filled with names from

Most outlandish places,

The gathered harvest

Of the scattered races.

For Wu and Suki,

Mbuyong, O’Brien

They too are reckoned

With the sons of Zion.

I told the pastor that I rather preferred Newton’s poetry on the psalm, but that I would look forward to the sermon.



In directing Roman Catholics not to vote for communists in Italian elections, I believe that all Americans will cheer Pope John XXIII, rather than condemn His Holiness, as Dr. Glenn L. Archer attempts to do, by indirection, in his Open Letter to me in your issue of March 14, 1960.

Is Dr. Archer suggesting that the fine Protestant Ministers of our country would ...

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